I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.
Every so often, you’ll have classmates or colleagues who seem to know so much trendy information about your shared field and you’ll wonder when these fine folks have the time and how they have the energy to read for fun on top of studies and working hours. (Hint: they’re cyborgs. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Don’t make eye contact.)
Of course, there are the lucky breed of academics whose work is their studies and whose studies are their hobbies and whose hobbies are their tasks. But that’s not everyone, and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad if that sort of overlap is not your experience. The average person can stay just as in-the-know with certain information routines that hardly take extra time out of their days.
Combining your academic interests with your social media pursuits is a solid option. The cosmic harmony achieved when a Star Wars meme is counterbalanced by a Shakespeare article promoted by JSTOR’s Facebook page is quite satisfying. Tons of academic journals, databases, and organizations have a social media presence, and following them alongside your fun favorites is an excellent way to stay on top of the academic buzz—and hardly noticing you’re feeding your brain. Search Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or whatever platform you can think of for database names or journal organizations, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Especially during nice summer walks and runs and lounging in the sun on the beach, podcasts are quick and easy ways to stay in the loop.
You can use apps like Feedly to subscribe to different sites and blogs.
Last but certainly not least, check out BrowZine, because we have a trial until May 15th and it’s pretty super cool. Straight from the creators, “BrowZine works by organizing the articles found in Open Access and subscription databases, uniting them into complete journals, then arranging these journals on a common newsstand. The result is an easy and familiar way to browse, read and monitor scholarly journals across the disciplines.” Oooooooooo. Now, if you’re anything like me, logging into Villanova’s site and checking out the catalog on a computer to print out a journal article is not exactly something that screams leisure and poolside reading. But put it on my phone or tablet, and I’m there! Not only that—journal articles waste a whole lot of paper if you want to be mobile with your academia! In honor of Earth Day, perhaps its time to use BrowZine as your stepping stone to an ecofriendly research experience.
As you can see…
…my alternate tablet activities without BrowZine are decidedly less, uh, elevated.
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
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